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UN leader appeals for $35 billion for WHO initiatives

The Secretary-General of the United Nations appealed to donor countries and others to pitch in $35 billion for a World Health Organisation-led initiative that aims to speed the research and development of tests, treatments and vaccines for the coronavirus.

“Without an infusion of $15 billion over the next three months, beginning immediately, we will lose the window of opportunity to advance research, increase manufacturing and start delivering new tests and drugs for COVID-19,” said Antonio Guterres at the start of a WHO-led meeting on the initiative, known as the Act Accelerator.

He called for a “quantum leap” in funding to increase the chances of a global solution that could restore normality to the world. So far, the mechanism has received less than $3 billion.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned the numerous deals struck by countries with pharmaceuticals to secure their own coronavirus vaccine doses “could compromise equitable access and halt progress in bringing the COVID-19 pandemic to an end”.